Monday, June 1, 2009

#102 -- Lloyd Allen

Lloyd Allen

(Exchange between player and GM underling in California Angels spring training camp, circa 1971)
GM Underling: Hey, Rook. Yeah, you. Get over here for your baseball card picture.
Player: Here?
GM Underling: Of course here. Where did you think you were going to have your photo taken, Cooperstown?
Player: Why aren't you getting Cowan and Wright's pictures taken?
GM Underling: You don't understand the hierarchy, son. We know they're going to be with the team and Topps said they want to get their photos at the Stadium in Anaheim. Either that or they'll get some game action shots. You? Well, just in case you finally make the team they want to get something in their library so they can put you on a card next year.
Player: Oh. I see. But what will I wear?
GM Underling: Rook, you ain't funny. Just get over here.
Player: Against that temporary outfield fence? I hope Cowan and Wright get better backgrounds.

Lloyd Allen made the Angels in 1971. He was a 1968 1st round draft choice, made his major league debut in 1969 and had another cup of coffee in 1970. He broke through in 1971 and not only made the team, but, according to the Topps copy writer, was "one of the AL's top firemen..." He had an impressive year, with an ERA of 2.49 and 15 saves. He even hit a solo home run for his only career RBI off Dave Boswell of the Orioles in July.

Lloyd's 21 and has a promising future in Anaheim, right? Think again. The life of a reliever is a roller coaster. He gets off to a great start in 1972. By June 26, he's got a 2.11 ERA, saved 5/6 chances and pitching well. Well enough that the brass decides to put their 1st round draft pick into the rotation. He gets 6 starts, going 0-4, 4.97 (pretty bad in those days). He goes back to the bullpen. The last 14 games he pitched that year he went 1-0, 4.00 ERA. He blew saves in his first 2 games back in the bullpen (winning the 2nd) and didn't get another shot to save a game the rest of the year.

The win he got in relief was his last big league win. He was traded to the Rangers in early 1973, where he went 0-6. He was 0-2 in 1974 and 1975 with the Rangers and White Sox and that was it. What had been such a promising start ends with 3 years of 0-10, 8.89 ERA. He bounced around the minors through 1979 without getting back to the big leagues and then gave it up.

He also didn't get a cool background for his card like Billy Cowan and Clyde Wright did, either.

One more thing about the card. I love the cartoon. The Angels moved all the way from Los Angeles to Anaheim. However, Mr. Autry (if he was the owner at the time) could have at least let the players sit in the front of the moving van instead of sticking them in the back!

1972 Feature
On this day (June 1) in 1972, the Game of the Day was in Cleveland, where the surprising Indians (19-17) beat the Tigers 1-0 to draw them within 1 game of the lead. Gaylord Perry pitched a 7 hit shutout for his 9th victory. Cleveland scored its run with good fundamental baseball in the 3rd. Eddie Leon drew a 1 out walk, was bunted to 2nd by Perry and scored on a base hit by Tommy McCraw. Gaylord did the rest.

Also on this day in 1972, Stan Williams was released by the Angels. That was it for him.

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